An Act to implement the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States

Sponsor

Justin Trudeau  Liberal

Status

In committee (House), as of June 20, 2019

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Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment implements the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States, done at Buenos Aires on November 30, 2018.

The general provisions of the enactment set out rules of interpretation and specify that no recourse is to be taken on the basis of sections 9 to 19 or any order made under those sections, or on the basis of the provisions of the Agreement, without the consent of the Attorney General of Canada.

Part 1 approves the Agreement, provides for the payment by Canada of its share of the expenditures associated with the operation of the institutional and administrative aspects of the Agreement and gives the Governor in Council the power to make orders in accordance with the Agreement.

Part 2 amends certain Acts to bring them into conformity with Canada’s obligations under the Agreement.

Part 3 contains coordinating amendments and the coming into force provisions.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

June 13, 2019 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-100, An Act to implement the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States

Business of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

June 20th, 2019 / 12:30 p.m.
See context

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties and if you seek it, I think you will find unanimous consent for the following motion:

That, notwithstanding any Standing or Special Order or usual practice of the House:

(a) the amendment to the motion respecting the senate amendments to Bill C-83, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and another Act, be deemed negatived on division and the main motion be deemed carried on division; and

(b) the amendment to the motion for second reading of Bill C-100, An Act to implement the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States, be deemed negatived on division and that the Bill be deemed read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on International Trade.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

June 18th, 2019 / 9 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Madam Speaker, it is an honour for me to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-100.

I want to start my remarks recognizing that we are ending the session shortly and this could very well be my last speech in the 42nd Parliament. That will no doubt delight my Liberal friends, but if they stay to listen to the content of my final remarks, they will have no delight because they will outline their failures.

I want to also send special thanks to a couple of exceptional Canadians, Dr. David Stevens and Dr. Bill Plaxton in Kitchener Waterloo. I have been away the last week with my wife who had surgery. She was in the hands of those amazing medical professionals at Grand River Hospital. I want to thank them and I want to thank her for allowing me to come and speak tonight to NAFTA. I have been trying to help at home a little this last week.

All of us in the House rely on exceptional spouses, partners and families. If these are my last remarks of this Parliament, I think all of us do not thank our families enough. I love Rebecca and I love my family. The sacrifices we make in the House lead to reflection at this time of year. It has been good for me to spend time with my wife who is my partner in this adventure. I want to thank Dr. Stevens in particular for his exceptional care.

I will now proceed to upset my Liberal friends in discussing Bill C-100, back to my normal approach.

I hope a lot of Canadians are watching. I doubt they are, but I will push this out because we have to break this narrative that the government has approached the U.S. trade relationship and NAFTA renegotiations in any form of strategic fashion, because that has not been the case.

Much like almost every foreign relations approach under the Prime Minister, Canada has suffered, our sectors have suffered, employers, job creators, employees have suffered. The Liberal Party always puts the Prime Minister's brand and their own electoral fortune ahead of the national interest. Nothing highlights that more than the famous state visit to India. However, if we look at all the strained relationships Canada has around the world right now, we have never had so many. Almost all of these diplomatic entanglements are attributable to the Prime Minister's own approach, style and obsession with his image and electoral prospects.

We saw that with photographs from the India trip, but we have also seen it in flawed trade relations with China, where we are in the biggest dispute since we have had relations with China in the 1970s, with Saudi Arabia, with the Philippines. Countries like Italy have imposed tariffs on durum wheat. We are losing track of the number of countries that have a serious problem with Canada on trade, on security or in other relations because of the Prime Minister's government.

As much as I have some admiration for the Minister of Foreign Affairs, she is presiding over probably the worst period of modern diplomatic relations of Canada. I do not think 10 more magazine covers of Maclean's will correct that record.

Nothing should concern Canadians more than the situation with NAFTA. Two-thirds of our economy relies on trade with the United States. I have said this many times. Canada became lazy for the last half century, relying on the fact that we lived just north to the largest, most voracious free market economy in the world. In the post-world cycle, Canada traded, produced, were drawers of water and hewers of wood for the largest market just south of us.

Until the Harper government, we did not look much beyond our shores to enhance free trade and develop partnerships to diversify our trade relationships. We were so reliant, but we were also pioneers in free trade.

We can go back to the Harper and Mulroney governments, even back to Pearson with the auto pact of the mid-1960s when there was free trade in automobiles for the first time between two modern industrial countries. An automobile assembled in Oshawa by people like my father and his colleagues who worked in Oshawa where I grew up, or an automobile assembled in Windsor, or Oakville or Sainte-Thérèse, Quebec was considered just the same as if it had been assembled in Michigan.

Over the subsequent decades, we saw a Great Lakes free trade based in auto. It was the epicentre of the global auto industry. With just-in-time manufacturing, a part could be made in Aurora, put on final assembly in Oshawa and 70% of the vehicles produced in our Ontario auto plants were for sale in the United States anyway. Therefore, our free trade with the United States was built upon the auto industry.

I say this for two reasons. The first is because representing Oshawa and that industry, the retirees and the workers there now is a priority for me. The second reason is because it should trouble Canadians that the minister did not mention the auto industry in her priority speech on NAFTA, despite the fact the Liberals' best friend, Jerry Dias, was on the NAFTA advisory committee. I was pushing for auto to be a priority. whereas Jerry Dias was applauding the Prime Minister for an agenda that did not mention the auto industry.

Let us do a recap. President Trump was elected, and before his inauguration, before he was president, the Prime Minister volunteered to renegotiate NAFTA. There have been so many mistakes between now and then, we forget that our Prime Minister inserted us into something that was likely going to be focused on modernization with Mexico. Later on, the U.S. outlined what it wanted.

In July of 2017, a United States trade representative laid out a series of priorities for the U.S. It spelled them out in detail, including things related to state-owned enterprises and non-market economy-type structures, which were a surprise to people at the end. The U.S. laid it out in July of 2017 in detail, rules of origin, part content and the fact it wanted to go after what it perceived to be subsidies in the agriculture sector in Canada, despite the fact the U.S. spends more on agricultural subsidies than we spend on our military. However, it laid out what it wanted to talk about.

What did the Liberal Party lay out a few months later in August 2017 at the University of Ottawa? The minister launched her vaunted progressive agenda speech. There was no response to what the U.S. had already put out on trade. That is how a negotiation is supposed to work. The U.S. talks about the priorities it wants to talk about at the table and we put forward a contrary position. We should have pushed back and said that the U.S. had to stop subsidizing its agriculture sector before it could lecture us. However, the Liberals did not do that. They proceeded to make it all about the Prime Minister again. The “progressive agenda” they called it.

I invite Canadians to look at the speech. The core objectives of the minister's speech were laid out in detail and they were failures across the board. I know the minister has a high degree of education, but if she was getting marked on her paper, her speech, she would have failed.

Let me take the House through the core objectives laid out by the Liberal Party at the beginning of NAFTA.

The first objective was to modernize NAFTA for the digital revolution. That did not happen. In fact, there are concerns with respect to data transfer and localized storage of digital information that Canada was not able to negotiate into the new NAFTA. Therefore, the first core objective was a failure.

The second objective was the progressive section within NAFTA, where the minister, and later on the Minister of Climate Change and others, said that the government wanted clear, new chapters on climate change, gender rights, indigenous issues regarding reconciliation, those sorts of things. At the time, I said it was hard to be critical of things that were very important social programming and policy issues, particularly reconciliation. I take that responsibility very seriously. However, I also recognize that NAFTA is a trade agreement. There is not even a constitutional alignment between first nations and indigenous peoples, between Mexico, the United States and Canada, so how could we ever negotiate a trade agreement with a chapter on indigenous issues, for example? It was impossible.

Why were those elements the second prong of Canada's NAFTA strategy? Because it was the Prime Minister's brand. That could have been ripped out of the 2015 Liberal election platform.

When we are putting up policies to ensure we guarantee almost two-thirds of our economic activity as a nation, we should not be doing the posturing that the Liberals do on all these relationships. It leads to bad outcomes.

The third core objective the Liberal Party outlined was harmonizing regulations. That did not happen either. In fact, the last government had regulatory co-operation in the western hemispheric travel initiative, beyond the border initiatives. We have gone way back. We are not harmonizing any regulations.

The fourth core objective was government procurement and eliminating local content and buy America provisions. The Liberals failed on that one too. There remain buy America provisions, and the trend is getting worse.

The fifth core objective was to make the movement of professionals easier with respect to allowing Canadian professionals or people transferred to work in the United States. They failed on that front too. They did not secure that. That should have been low hanging fruit.

The sixth core objective was supply management, which the Liberals caved on as well. What I never heard the government say was the fact that the supply management system was criticized relentlessly. We heard President Trump talk about high tariff rates. I never heard a Liberal minister push back on the United States and say that its collection of direct agriculture subsidies amounted to more subsidization of the agricultural sector in the United States than in Canada by a country mile. In fact, the Americans spend more on agricultural subsidies on average each year than we spend on our military. We should have been pushing back at this narrative.

Those were the six core objectives of the minister's speech at the University of Ottawa. I would invite Canadians to look at it. We did not achieve a single objective. If that is not failure of colossal proportions, I do not know what is.

At the same time, we had section 232 speculation about steel and aluminum tariffs. The Conservatives said at the time that we needed to talk security, that we needed to talk trade, that we needed to ensure we could use NORAD and other relationships that were unique to Canada as a way to ensure we did not have section 232 tariffs applied.

The Prime Minister did a steel town tour when the government gained a one month exemption from tariffs. A month later the tariffs applied and they hurt Canada hard for a year. If we look at the statements by Secretary Ross in the United States, we could have avoided it.

Bill C-101 that is before the House now on safeguards is what the U.S. had been asking for. Had we aligned on concerns about oversupply of steel from China, had we aligned on security provisions, we could have avoided section 232 tariffs and we could have had a better NAFTA.

At the time, the Conservatives publicly told the minister to use the North American defence relationship to distinguish Canada. Only Canada has a defence and homeland security partnership with the United States. Mexico does not. Europe does not. NAFTA does not. Only Canada does, and we have had that since the 1950s.

When we are talking trade, or security, or oversupply of commodities from China, we should have been aligned. Oversupply of Chinese steel was something the Obama administration started taking on in the early days of the Liberal government, as the administration was winding down. This was not all about it being hard to align with Trump. No attempt was made by the Liberal government.

The damage the so-called progressive agenda did allowed Mexico to negotiate an agreement before Canada. It should astound Canadians to know that in the final months of negotiations, Canada was not at the table but Mexico was. Mexico had 85 direct meetings with administration officials even though it was starting in a much worse position. The border relationship with Mexico was part of the U.S. presidential election. However, Mexico was strategic. It did not posture. It did not virtue signal. It did not try and run its next election using NAFTA negotiations as the stage.

I cannot stress enough that on almost every major diplomatic entanglement we have had under the current government, it has been the result of the Liberal Party putting its own election fortunes ahead of our national interests, ahead of steelworkers, ahead auto workers and ahead of the softwood lumber industry, which was hardly even mentioned by the government. We have seen those sectors, agriculture and others, let down time after time because of the Prime Minister's particular agenda and his desire to make this all about him. In this Parliament, we should be serving Canadians and not the electoral fortunes of that party.

What has Mexico done? It has surpassed us under the Liberals. In fact, Mexico is now the largest bilateral trade partner with the United States at $97.4 billion in the first two months of this year. That was ahead of our $92.4 billion, even though it is caught in the trade disruption. Mexico has been smarter than the current government has, so much so that it reached an agreement, and Canada was given an option to join it. There were no further negotiations, despite the minister's frequent trips to Washington and storming into the building. The deal was done, and if members go to Washington, everyone knows that. The deal was done, and Canada was given the ability to sign on.

Now we hear the Liberals holding on to things like culture, which was exempted. Culture was never mentioned by the U.S. once. It was not a priority in the minister's speech, and the Prime Minister never mentioned it. The Liberals are now trying to cobble together things they try to say they saved. We already had chapter 19. They are saying that culture was not changed. The Americans were not trying to change it. I read through the six core objectives in the minister's speech. The Liberals failed on every single one.

We have tried to work with them. In fact, the relief from the section 232 tariffs was initiated by the Conservative caucus going down there and saying that we would work with the government on ratification, and the member for Malpeque knows that. He and many people are leaving, because they do not like the way the Prime Minister approached it. I have lost track of how many more Liberal first-timers have resigned today. They do not agree with his approach.

We went down and said that we would try to use the dying days of Parliament to pass a new NAFTA, even though we think it is a step back. Our leader has called it NAFTA 0.5, because we wanted those steel and aluminum tariffs off. They were hurting manufacturers in Ontario. They were hurting people in my riding, like Ranfar Steel, and steel plants in Prince Edward Island that I visited last summer. They were being hurt in Quebec. Therefore, we made an agreement to say that we would try to work with the government on ratifying a deal, which we think is a step back, just to get trade certainty. Businesses want some certainty, even if it means taking a worse deal. This will be a priority for us.

I want to end with remarks that are etched on the walls of the U.S. embassy in Canada. We can let personalities get in the way on both sides, but it will be a priority for the Conservative government to get this relationship back on track.

In 1961 in this chamber, John F. Kennedy said this:

Geography has made us neighbours. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners. And necessity has made us allies. Those whom nature hath so joined together, let no man put asunder

He said that in this chamber, and that is a challenge to us. These are our closest allies, trade partners and familial connections going back to the origins of our country. We have to be able to fight for our interests and co-operate on security and trade. To do that, the Conservatives wanted to work with the government to get the tariffs done and work with the NAFTA agreement as we have it. We will fix the gaps after a change in government, sector by sector, including auto, softwood and agriculture. To get the certainty, we were prepared to try to work with the government, even though we would have taken a very different approach.

I look forward to questions, including from my friend, the MP for Malpeque.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

June 18th, 2019 / 9:40 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Julie Dzerowicz Liberal Davenport, ON

Madam Speaker, while we are figuring that out, I will speak to the bill.

It is an absolute pleasure for me to be speaking, on behalf of the residents of my riding of Davenport, to Bill C-100, an act to implement the agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States. Indeed, this will be my last speech in this 42nd Parliament, and I am delighted to be speaking on such an important topic.

Before I speak to Bill C-100, I want to marvel at the accomplishments of our federal government over the last few years. We signed not one, not two, but three trade agreements since we came into office in late 2015. I am very proud that we signed the Canada-Europe trade agreement, the CPTPP and the USMCA, which we are now debating. These three agreements give Canada tariff-free access to 1.5 billion customers around the world. It is absolutely amazing. I would also like to point out that Canada is the only country to have a free trade agreement with each of the G7 countries.

I think both of these things are remarkable to note. We should be very congratulatory about the fact that we have been able to accomplish them over the last few years. I think it will truly be beneficial for Canada's economy moving forward.

As members know, we are a trading nation. Geographically, we are a massive country, but we are small in terms of people. Indeed, for our economy to be strong, both now and moving forward, we need these trade agreements.

I want to point out two other trade agreements that I follow in particular, because they have a direct impact on key groups in my riding. The first relates to the Hispanic and Brazilian communities.

In March 2018, our Minister of International Trade Diversification launched negotiations on Mercosur, which is a trading bloc that includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. These are really important markets for us and are very important for many members of my particular community. I am delighted that we have embarked on this. I hope to hear about its conclusions by the end of this year or early next year.

The other agreement I want to mention, as it is important to a group I am very proud to be a part of, relates to the Turkish community. Very recently, on June 8, the JETCO was signed between the hon. Ruhsar Pekcan, Turkey's Minister of Trade, and our Minister of International Trade Diversification at the G20 summit in Japan. We signed this JETCO because we want to further trade and investment between our two countries. We want to put a specific emphasis on small and medium-sized enterprises, strategic venture initiatives and technical and scientific co-operation. I am delighted with this. I currently serve as the chair of the Canada-Turkey Friendship Group, and I know this is exciting for both countries. I think it will be a benefit for both of us as well.

In my downtown west riding of Davenport, people are very supportive of trade agreements. This is partly because over 52% of them were born outside of Canada. For them, increasing trade between countries not only is beneficial for Canada overall but is also a way for many of the diasporas in my community to build closer relationships with their home countries or the home countries of their parents or grandparents. I find this particularly endearing. They are very positive toward trade agreements and are absolutely delighted with the CUSMA.

I will provide a few facts and figures. I do not think I will say anything that members have not heard many times before, but it is important for me to reiterate them.

The North American free trade zone is the biggest economic region in the world, worth $22 trillion U.S. in our regional market, and it encompasses more than 480 million consumers. This new updated agreement preserves Canada's market access to the United States and Mexico, securing our most important trading relationship.

I am delighted that this deal would increase trade between all three countries. I also like that it strengthens relations between Canada and the U.S. and between Canada and Mexico. Canada's preferential access to these markets is vital to the continued prosperity of Canadian workers, whose livelihoods rely on trade.

We did have some concerns after we signed the original agreement, which I believe was on November 30, 2018. The reason we had some concern is that the U.S. had imposed some steel and aluminum tariffs.

I am very glad to say that, after months of hard work and effort from our government, particularly our Minister of Foreign Affairs, our Minister of Finance and our Prime Minister, Canadians are now in a very different situation. We have secured a full lifting of the steel and aluminum tariffs and, despite the Conservatives' call to drop our retaliatory measures, we held firm. We have stuck to our principles and there are no longer tariffs on our steel and aluminum, about which I am absolutely delighted.

In terms of benefits, the new agreement preserves NAFTA's chapter 19, which is the binational panel that will settle disputes between our countries on any trade issues. Chapter 19 provides Canada with recourse to an independent and impartial process to challenge U.S. or Mexican anti-dumping and countervailing duties. This is particularly important for our country's softwood lumber industry, which exported product worth billions of dollars to the United States in 2017.

Another benefit is the ease of trade going across our borders. We all know what it is like to wait in a lineup to cross the Canada-U.S. border, and the new NAFTA has new customs and trade facilitation measures that will make it easier for companies to move goods across the border. It will also eliminate paper processes and provide a single portal for traders to submit documentation electronically. Then, of course, there is enhanced regulatory transparency and predictability, which will provide additional assurance for exporters that their goods will make it to new markets.

The other benefit of the agreement is that there is a new chapter on small and medium-sized enterprises, which I believe is going to foster greater co-operation among all three countries in terms of small businesses. It is also going to increase trade investment opportunities. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy here in Canada, and I think they are delighted at this particular addition.

We have talked quite a bit today about the progressive elements of the deal. In particular, I want to mention a couple of them. The first is the agreement's labour chapter. Its key aim is to level the playing field on labour standards and working conditions in North America. It also contains commitments to ensure that national laws and policies provide protections for fundamental principles and rights at work.

The chapter also includes unprecedented protections against gender-based discrimination that are subject to dispute settlement, and there are also specific provisions around sexual orientation, sexual harassment, gender identity, caregiving responsibilities and wage discrimination. Gender equality and women's economic empowerment are important priorities for our government. They are also important priorities in spurring economic development and in making sure that trade works for everyone.

This new agreement is also very strong on the environment. I think that is top of mind for all Canadians right now, particularly since we have now officially declared a national climate emergency. The environment will be top of mind for not only our government but for all governments right around the world. The new and comprehensive environment chapter includes ambitious environmental provisions with core obligations for countries to maintain high levels of environmental protection and robust environmental governance.

Since I have 11 minutes, I will continue with all the benefits of the new NAFTA. I am delighted to be speaking longer on this, and I will continue with the benefits to the environment.

In terms of additional benefits, the updated NAFTA, or the USMCA, also introduces its new commitments to address global environmental challenges such as illegal wildlife trade, illegal fishing and the depletion of fish stocks, species at risk, conservation of biological diversity, ozone-depleting substances and marine pollution. Canadians care about the environment and are delighted that we have these additional provisions.

I always like hearing from third parties in terms of what they think about the agreement, so I want to highlight some of the key third parties and what they have said about the benefits of this agreement. Then I am going to go on as to its benefits for the cultural industry, which is really also very important for my riding of Davenport.

The Business Council of Canada stated:

We applaud your government’s success in negotiating a comprehensive and high-standard agreement on North American trade. The [new NAFTA] maintains our country’s preferential access to the United States and Mexico—Canada’s largest and third-largest trading partners respectively—while modernizing long-outdated elements of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Also, I have a wonderful quote from one of our former prime ministers, the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney, who was the chief negotiator of the original NAFTA. He said that NAFTA got what it wanted and that it was a good deal. Therefore, he wholeheartedly endorsed this as well.

Because we talked a bit about labour provisions, I also have a wonderful quote from Hassan Yussuff, who is head of the Canadian Labour Congress, who said this new agreement, “gets it right on labour provisions, including provisions to protect workers against employment discrimination on the basis of gender.”

Therefore, as members can tell, there is quite a bit of support for the new NAFTA, and there are a number of third-party groups who provided these wonderful quotes.

What I would like to spend a couple of minutes on now is the positive impacts of this new updated agreement on cultural industries in Canada. As members may know, Davenport is home to one of the largest communities of artists, creators and those working in the cultural industries. Therefore, whenever I see any new agreements or announcements, I am always looking to see how they are going to benefit artists not only in my community but right across this country. Indeed, there are many benefits.

The USMCA will help strengthen Canada's unique cultural identity, including the French language and the independent Canadian media. The agreement will preserve the Canadian cultural exception that was demanded by Canada, especially in the digital world. It protects our cultural industries and more than 650,000 jobs across Canada. The cultural exception is essential for preserving identity and continuing to showcase our vibrant francophone culture, which is unique in North America.

I want to point out, because I am always proud of it, that I have a really wonderful growing francophone community in my downtown west riding of Davenport. We have a wonderful group called CHOQ-FM, which promotes really wonderful radio programs and really promotes the French language and francophone culture not only across Toronto but beyond.

I want to talk about some additional benefits without a cultural exception, federal and provincial tax credits and program funds to support our newspapers and magazines.

The cultural exception also protects Canada's broadcasting system, ensuring sustained investment in content created and produced by fellow Canadians.

I have some quotes from various leaders within the cultural industry who support the new USMCA and say it is beneficial for the industry.

I will provide a quote from Eric Baptiste of SOCAN, who stated:

Today is a great day for Canadian creators. SOCAN would like to thank the Canadian government for its efforts to defend the interests of the Canadian cultural sector and to provide greater protection for our creators.

I have a great quote from the Canadian Media Producers Association, which stated:

Throughout the NAFTA negotiations, the federal government consistently identified cultural exemption as a key priority. In securing this exemption in the new agreement, [the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs], and the entire negotiating team have stood tall for Canada and defended our cultural sovereignty. We applaud their successful efforts, and congratulate the government on this new deal.

Then I also have a great quote from Margaret McGuffin, who is with the Canadian Music Publishers Association, who stated:

Canada's music publishers and their songwriting partners welcomed the trade agreement reached between the governments of the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Finally, I have a wonderful quote from Melanie Rutledge of Magazines Canada, who said, “Magazines Canada's nearly 400 members across the country congratulate” the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and all the other players within the Canadian government who played a role in negotiating this updated free trade agreement. She also said:

We are especially pleased that the cultural exemption applies in both the analogue and digital spaces. This digital inclusion will be critical to Canadian magazines and other cultural industries in the years to come.

As we can see, there is lots of support from artists and those in the cultural industry.

I will also mention a couple of areas where I think it will be very supportive. Canadians are very proud of our health care system and see it as part of our identity. One of the key things we have done is that this agreement continues to support our health care system.

The new agreement is a renewed understanding among Canada, the United States and Mexico on the significance of our mutual trade agreement. It preserves key elements of our trading relationship and incorporates new and updated provisions that seek to address 21st century trade issues to the benefit of all of Canada's provinces and territories.

I did not expect to speak for more than 10 minutes and I have spoken for about 17 minutes now, but it has been a pleasure. This really is a key and fundamental agreement among Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. As I mentioned, our economy greatly depends on trade. Canadians were worried for a while whether or not we would finally have an updated agreement. I think they can now set aside that worry.

We now have that updated agreement in place. We have charted a course moving forward. It gives us a wonderful foundation from which to continue to build our businesses between Canada and the U.S.; Canada, the U.S. and Mexico; and Canada and Mexico. It will serve us well as we develop closer business relations and as we all seek to improve our economies moving forward.

With that, I am going to wrap up my comments. On behalf of the residents of Davenport, I am grateful for this wonderful opportunity to speak to this very important bill. I encourage everyone in the House to support it.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

June 18th, 2019 / 10:10 p.m.
See context

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to be able to rise today and speak to Bill C-100. I will be splitting my time with the member for Windsor—Tecumseh from our region, which I am quite glad to do. It is important. I know that this has been portrayed as a Canada-U.S.-Mexico agreement with regard to some of the discussion with the government that has been taking place. However, really this is a USMCA and that needs to be told, because this is a concession-based deal.

I was in Washington at the time of the decision-making, meeting with trade lawyers as part of the Canada-U.S. parliamentary association. Trade lawyers going through the documents from the first day to this day know that this is a concession-based deal for Canada. That is why it is a U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement. The government got out-negotiated and out-foxed by Mexico with regard to its position on the negotiations and, more important, also with the concession-based agreement that we have to this day.

We have to live with a number of provisions in this agreement. At the same time, there are Democrats who are looking to improve the deal right now in Washington, in particular on labour and also on environmental improvements that will increase our competitiveness, not only domestically but also within our trading bloc for the future. The current government is undermining those efforts by ramming this through now and doing it in a way that is consistently undermining even the Democratic Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, Congresswoman Dingell from Michigan and others who have been advocating for the improvement of those issues.

I would say that no matter what we do with regard to the situation right now, we should be focusing on the best decision for our future. Giving ourselves at least an opportunity for the Democrats to enhance our capabilities would be the smart and wise thing to do. In fact, it would fix some of the damage with this agreement.

I am going to go through a couple of things, but first and foremost we have to look at a Prime Minister here who set upon this himself, who actually initiated the fact that he wanted a new deal. The deal comes because of the Prime Minister's negotiating it. We would think that when he started with something he would want to come out better and further ahead. However, as we have heard, softwood lumber was not even part of the equation here. One of the cankerous elements with regard to our trading agreement with the United States, softwood lumber was left off the table to begin with.

We go into negotiations and we get steel tariffs that are put on our auto and other manufacturers. To this day, the government has collected a billion dollars from steelmakers across Canada. It has been an increased tax on them, and the government has not rebated it back to the actual companies. In fact, very little has gotten back when the Liberals promised it would be a dollar-for-dollar exchange. It has made it more difficult to compete. In fact, some have given up competing because they know they could not actually carry the debt load. The government was taking their money from them and never returning it. It is over a billion dollars.

At that time when we were looking for a new deal, coming from a number of perspectives, we had lumber left off the table. We still have unresolved professions and qualifications that go back to the previous deal. With regard to this today, if this deal does not pass right now, we go back to NAFTA to a better deal. That is what happens. It is clear that our path forward, if this does not happen right now, is that nothing changes. We continue without the concessions on dairy, copyright, auto and intellectual property. That is what is going to take place.

Regarding the current steel issue, first, it did not start until this Prime Minister tried to negotiate something, so he created that himself. Second, it has so many escape holes through it that it could be easily undermined right from the get-go. It is really a Pyrrhic victory. Let us be clear. If Trump wanted to get out of the NAFTA that we have right now, we would then have to have a process that involves Congress, the Senate and legal aspects that would be involved to pull us back to the free trade agreement. Past that, we would go back to the World Trade Organization agreement.

We have a long, storied road to go down before we would have a series of things that would undermine our current competitiveness.

It was argued that we should do a deal with the United States because we can develop certainty, but certainty has not been created in this deal. In fact, some of the implementation processes that are in place give more conditions to cabinet to change regulations in the future. We could change those regulations unilaterally, without this Parliament and without the other House looking at it. Again, that would leave more uncertainty. It would not create the conditions that we want because the president creates uncertainty because that is what he wants. He wants to destabilize things, so that they have relocation back in the U.S. This agreement would not achieve those objectives.

What is important is that we saw some efforts taking place in the U.S. House of Representatives. We saw improvements to create more specifics, for example, on the environment and labour.

I come from the Windsor-Detroit region. Thirty-five per cent of economic trade activity in my riding crosses over the U.S. border every day. That is about $1 billion. Thirty-five per cent of our daily trade with the United States takes place along two kilometres of border. We have been fighting for a new border crossing for some time and we are finally going to get a new one.

Interestingly enough, we are seeing the rollout of community benefits, something New Democrats proposed from the get-go. We are the only party that has consistently fought for a publicly owned border crossing, while the Conservatives often dallied with the DRTP, a private entity group from OMERS that was a complete and utter disaster.

At times, the Liberals backed out of the process with comments and positions proposed by former transport people and representatives like Joe Volpe and others. New Democrats have consistently been trying to get a new border crossing built. We are proud to be the ones who continue to advocate for local supports for the community that will make things better.

With regards to the auto industry, as I said earlier, the auto pact was dismantled because of Brian Mulroney's free trade agreement. The Conservatives at that time left an escape hatch open for the WTO challenge by the Japanese and other automakers, which led to us going from a revelled state to where, under the Liberals, our footprint has shrunk quite dramatically when it comes to the auto industry.

The Liberals often brag about the $6 billion they say they have invested during their four years in office. Detroit alone is upwards of $12 billion to $14 billion in investment and most of it being in the innovative sector with regards to electrification and automation, so we have potential access to those markets, but the government has not worked on that plan.

The labour and environmental standards that the democrats are successfully trying to negotiate right now are related to ensuring there are measurables. Measurables make sure Mexican wages are not going to be used to undermine. There is no enforcement on that. There is also no enforcement on the environment.

Mexican labour representatives have been here in Ottawa advocating for those enforcement measures as well, and that is important. They know that with enforcement, they will see better terms and conditions for themselves and their families.

It is important to recognize that if this agreement does not go forward in its current form right now, our trade relations remain constant and steady under our current position. We do not get concessions on labour, the environment, digital property, intellectual property and supply management. We do not get concessions on a whole host of things in this agreement. That is why we believe in giving the democrats a chance to fix some of these enforcements so we can get those benefits. That would be better in the long term.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

June 18th, 2019 / 10:25 p.m.
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NDP

Cheryl Hardcastle NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise during this last week of the 42nd Parliament to represent my riding of Windsor—Tecumseh and voice our concerns and issues with free trade agreements in general, and specifically with Bill C-100, an act to implement the free trade agreement between Canada, the United States of America and Mexico.

New Democrats understand the importance of our trading relationship with the U.S., our largest trading partner, and we believe that a better NAFTA can improve the welfare of all North Americans. New Democrats are in favour of international trade agreements that respect human rights, the rights of workers, the environment and all of our international obligations. In fact, we supported the bill at second reading and proposed some excellent amendments that would have made for a truly progressive free trade agreement, the very sort of agreement that the current government pretends to support but never actually seems to sign.

The other parties like to take simplistic jabs at the NDP, as happened earlier tonight with the parliamentary secretary saying that the NDP has never supported a free trade agreement, ever. Well, I would ask the other parties to name just one trade agreement that actually respects human rights, the rights of workers, the environment and all of our international obligations, including to indigenous people. The other parties cannot answer that, because it has not happened yet. However, we had the opportunity to improve this key trade deal and make it about improving the lives of Canadians, forging ties for sustainable jobs and really leveraging our relationship.

In my role as vice-chair of the subcommittee on international human rights, one important issue related to trade agreements is supply chain transparency, or supply chain due diligence. How exactly does a nation ensure that no product finds its way into its borders that was not made by utilizing child labour or forced labour? This issue surrounding modern slavery is complex and includes multi-faceted problems.

According to recent figures released by the International Labour Organization, a total of 152 million children, 64 million girls and 88 million boys, are all in child labour globally, accounting for almost one in 10 of all children worldwide. Nearly half of those in child labour, 73 million children in absolute terms, are in hazardous work that directly endangers their health, safety and development. Children in employment, a broader measure comprising both child labour and permitted forms of employment involving children of legal working age, number 218 million. Widely reported instances of child labour and forced labour in the global supply chains of everyday goods, such as coffee, seafood, apparel, palm oil and the metals used in our electronics, have linked multinational companies with some of these human rights abuses.

Canadian companies are not immune from these risks. According to World Vision's research, 1,200 companies operating in Canada imported goods at risk of being produced by child labour or forced labour in 2015, worth a total of approximately $34 billion. The majority of companies in Canada disclose very little meaningful information about the policies, practices and due diligence they have in place to prevent child labour and forced labour in their global supply chains. Obviously, this makes it hard for our friends in civil society, not to mention consumers, investors and trade unions, to constructively engage with these companies. It is even more difficult to hold them accountable to their human rights responsibilities.

This is not for want of proposals out there that might bring an end to forced labour in these supply chains. First and foremost, we must get children into schools. As enrolment rates increase, child labour declines. Since 2000, governments have increased the number of children in school by 110 million, making it much less likely that those children will end up in the labour market.

Next, a strong legal framework must be enacted. When governments enforce child labour laws through effective inspections and penalties for employers who exploit children, child labour is less likely to flourish.

Without targeted legislation requiring more information on corporate supply chains, we can only guess whether abuses perpetrated by Canadian corporations overseas, as alleged in several civil lawsuits in Canadian courts, are common occurrences or isolated incidents.

Human Rights Watch calls for the beginning of a process for the adoption of new, international, legally binding standards that oblige governments to require businesses to conduct human rights due diligence in global supply chains. UNICEF has made similar recommendations.

Free trade agreements are international treaties that should put human rights at the forefront, not as side agreements. These are the issues that should be focused on first and foremost and form the basis when we are renegotiating trade agreements. NAFTA 2.0 is a perfect example of that.

The original NAFTA was negotiated by Conservatives and signed by Liberals in 1994. People were promised jobs, rising productivity and access to the largest market in the world. Instead, Canada lost over 400,000 manufacturing jobs and its textile industry. In addition, Canada paid millions of dollars in court fees and penalties when sued by corporations under investor state dispute resolution mechanisms.

The Democrats in the U.S. are working hard to achieve a better NAFTA. They want improved labour provisions that will protect jobs; they want to fight big pharma on the extension of drug patents, which will result in higher costs; they want to ensure that the environment is protected, and they want to ensure clear, meaningful enforceability.

Canadians expect the Liberal government to push for these progressive changes. The new NAFTA, or CUSMA, resulted in illegal tariffs on aluminum and steel for over a year and the devastation of Canadian businesses and workers. The tariffs were lifted on May 20, 2019, and the cost has been incredibly high. Canada has lost over 1,000 well-paying, community-building jobs while watching these businesses close.

In my riding of Windsor—Tecumseh and the rest of Windsor-Essex County, we know the devastating effects of poorly negotiated trade agreements like the first version of NAFTA: the race to the bottom. The Liberals scoffed at our warnings then, and now they are presenting today's version, which is CUSMA.

At its core, the new NAFTA is about giving more power to corporations, as it gives enforceable rights to investors and limits the powers of current and future governments and the citizens who elect them. For New Democrats to support this agreement, CUSMA must not set the stage for exploitation, and it must protect the poorest and most marginalized people. For that reason, I move an amendment at this time.

I move, seconded by the member for Windsor West:

That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following: “the House decline to give second reading to Bill C-100, An Act to implement the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States, because it:

a) fails to improve labour provisions that are necessary to protect good jobs;

b) allows for an extension of drug patents that will significantly increase the cost of medicine for Canadians;

c) leaves the environment vulnerable due to the absence of clear, enforceable protection provisions;

d) is being rushed through the legislative process, without adequate time and attention for such a crucial trade agreement;

e) will shift the levers of power within the economy away from governments and workers, in favour of corporations, by weakening public regulations on public health and the environment; and

f) puts the poorest and most marginalized Canadians at further risk by failing to ensure the protection of human rights, gender equality and inclusive economic growth.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

June 18th, 2019 / 10:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

Mr. Speaker, I stand in the House tonight, as the member of Parliament for Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, in Nova Scotia, excited to to speak to this important bill, yet saddened, as this will be my last speech in the House for the 42nd Parliament. I have mixed feelings.

In my closing speech for the 42nd Parliament, the theme I would like to speak on is CUSMA. Bill C-100 is a great example of the work our government has done throughout the four years it has been in power.

If we want a country to be strong, we have to ensure Canadians, the business community and all citizens have opportunities. This is the third trade deal we have brought forward.

A couple of years ago, we brought forward CETA, which was a very important deal with the European Union. With that deal, we potentially have access to 500 million people who can purchase our goods as well. We need to remember that under that deal, 98% of tariffs are gone. In the past, it was only 25%. We are opening the market tremendously and there is great potential for Canadians to move forward with important opportunities.

Our second deal was the CPTPP, once again providing us access to 500 million people. We now have access one billion people. It is an outstanding potential opportunity in Asia and the Pacific. We know we have great entrepreneurs who continue to innovate. They are able to sell and trade with those countries.

The third deal is CUSMA, which is extremely important. Of course, it adds access to 500 million people more. We are now have access to 1.5 billion people.

This is a continuation of what is happening in this great country right now. Our unemployment rate has changed from the time we took power. When the Conservatives left four years ago, we had a 7.2% unemployment rate. Today, as I stand before the House, the unemployment rate is 5.2%. It is outstanding.

There has been job creation. Who has created those jobs? Canadians. How many jobs have they created since 2015? Over one million jobs. How many Canadians were lifted out of poverty during that time? Over 825,000. It is very impressive.

What else have we done? We are investing in Canadians to create a strong Canada, ensuring we build a Canada that Canadians can be proud of and from which Canadians will be able to benefit. We brought forward a national housing strategy for Canadians. We brought forward the CPP. We brought forward a national early learning and child care framework. Canadians should just watch us now, though. We are bringing forward pharmacare for all Canadians. This is what we are doing.

It is important to share with members this victory. It is tremendous.

This is such an important victory for Canadians and I have to tell them how it turned out. President Trump was waking up in the middle of the night and tweeting about what he felt the Americans needed if a deal was to be had. He talked about three major areas.

The first one was the five-year sunset clause, or a shotgun clause, whatever we want to call it. If there was no renegotiation on that, the deal was dead. Canada said no. We cannot expect business communities, businessmen and women and business entrepreneurs to invest, upgrade and modernize when they only have five years of guaranteed potential. We know what the Conservatives were saying. From the start, they were saying we should sign any deal. It did not matter, we just had to get it done. However, that is not what we did. We got what we wanted.

The second thing Trump tweeted about in the middle of the night was that we had to end supply management. The Americans did not want that in the deal. Do we have supply management today? Absolutely. That is a very important. The Americans will not flood our markets with their cheap products. We will not have it. We are proud Canadians, and we will continue to defend supply management for all Canadians.

The third thing President Trump said was he could not sign a deal unless we changed the dispute management mechanism. It was important to the Americans that we changed that. Why? Because the Americans were losing 98% of the time when things went to the tribunal. He wanted to do away with the international tribunal and have American lawyers and judges determine what was right and what was wrong in the deal. The Tories wanted to sign. We said it would not happen and it never happened. That also is important.

I think back to when the Conservatives were criticizing us, saying “sign, sign”, but we stayed on the path. We were successful. The former prime minister of the country, Brian Mulroney, said that Canada did very well. He said it was a great deal. He was speaking, of course, for the Conservatives.

For the NDP, there is no such thing as an NDP deal. The New Democrats are anti-trade. We could not make it good enough for them. There will always be an issue or a problem.

There is one good, solid New Democrat when it comes to trade, and that is my colleague, the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie. I think he wants to be a Liberal. I believe he is more Liberal than New Democratic. This is what he said:

I just want to congratulate everybody in this room for the fantastic job that you did, for the leadership of Unifor, to be sure, that we can get the best deal possible and protect workers all around this country.

That was pretty impressive for a New Democratic member who really understands the importance of trade deals.

Let us talk quickly about CUSMA. There are certain aspects that we were victorious on, over and above the fact that we told Trump those three were not going to happen, and that he should get over it. I guess he did get over it. He never showed up last week. He sent Pence here. He knows he did not get the best deal for the United States. He knows that Canada got the best deal. He knows the Liberal Government of Canada got the deal done.

Another very important piece we were successful on was labour. We were able to bring a more ambitious and robust piece to the labour portion of the agreement. The new auto rule of origin that we were successful in getting for the auto industry allows auto workers guaranteed work over time. The auto industry is very proud of that.

The environmental changes we brought forward are very important and are incorporated in the agreement. We are talking about air quality, water and marine. They are all very important aspects.

Of course, who can forget the very important gender lens? We are a party that will work to ensure all genders have opportunities. We put in place a mechanism to protect women's rights. It is very important to recognize gender identity and sexual orientation.

We cannot forget this. The Conservatives, NDP, Bloc and the Greens asked us how we could sign a deal that did not remove steel and aluminum tariffs. We knew what we were doing. Not only were we working on ratifying and ensuring we had a the deal, but we did not ratify this deal before the tariffs were removed. The tariffs on steel and aluminum are gone. They are history. We were able to do that successfully.

I want all members in the House of Commons not to forget that Canadians have a victory with this deal. The people from Nova Scotia have a big victory with this deal. This is very important for people from Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook as well. This bill will create good middle-class jobs for all Canadians.

We have strong deals because we believe in industry. Our products, when we have a level playing field, are the best in the world. We are proving that by implementing these trade deals. Canadians have created over a million jobs. Those jobs have been created before seeing the success of these trade deals.

This is a very good deal for Canadians. I am very proud of this deal and I know all Canadians are proud of it.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

June 18th, 2019 / 10:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, what to say after that speech? Winston Churchill once said that a man was about as big as the things that made him angry. Certainly, the member for Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook was quite angry tonight, trying to defend the government's record on trade, which is not a good one. It reminds me a little bit of the advice he was given by the minister for climate change when she said that if we wanted people to believe something, just keep saying it, yell it, get angry and then they would totally believe it.

I would ask the member this. He talked a lot about how the Prime Minister fought for the progressive agenda in the U.S. trade deal. Of course, in the last two months of this trade deal, which is represented in Bill C-100, Canada was not even at the negotiating table. Mexico got the deal. We had to be added to it.

The member talked about the signature of the progressive agenda and he mentioned the gender lens. I would like that member to refer me to the chapter in the agreement on gender. Here is a hint for Canadians watching: There is no chapter. None of the items the government laid out in their objectives were met.

I know the member worked a lot in education. I think he will be going back to that in the fall. Could he tell me something? In the six core objectives, when the Liberals got zero out of six, would he fail a student with that mark?

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

June 18th, 2019 / 11:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am not quite sure how to follow my friend from Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook. I will try to do so with facts, as opposed to volume. He knows that my family, who live in Fall River in his riding, have a great deal of respect for him, as I do. Unfortunately, the speech he was given tonight with respect to NAFTA does not reflect what really happened in the negotiations and the deal.

As a Nova Scotia MP, the member would know that the future of economic development in Nova Scotia, the success being had right now, is attributable to two things. First is the amazing potential of institutions and entrepreneurs in Atlantic Canada, and Nova Scotia in particular. Second was the strategic focus on trade and infrastructure that took place during the Harper government. Specifically, Atlantic Canada has never seen a larger investment than the awarding of the shipbuilding contract to the Halifax shipyard. The largest investment in the history of Atlantic Canada is attributable to the Conservatives.

I am very proud of that, having served on board one of the frigates bought previously by the last majority Conservative governments of Mulroney. When Conservative governments are in, they have to modernize and update the Canadian Armed Forces every generation. We see the current government buying 40-year-old used aircraft from Australia and being parodied on the world stage, but the investment at the Halifax shipyard is impressive. In fact, I will be going to see it again this summer.

What is interesting as well for the Halifax Regional Municipality, an area that the member for Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook should know well, as his riding abuts the Halifax airport, is that Peter MacKay made it a priority for the runways at the Robert Stanfield airport to be extended. Longer runways allowed for more cargo flights to take Atlantic Canadian exports around the world, exports like lobster to South Korea. As parliamentary secretary in the Harper government, I was proud to visit the cargo terminal at Stanfield International in Halifax to see one of the first few months' worth of flights taking Nova Scotia lobster, fished from Cape Breton right down through to the south shore and to Yarmouth, to new markets in Asia, to secure a better price for the products.

In fact, the CETA trade deal was particularly beneficial to a number of key industries in Atlantic Canada, particularly on the seafood side, as was the bilateral trade deal with South Korea, which I was involved in.

If we do the rundown, at Cape Breton, the tar ponds that were talked about for generations, when I was in law school at Dalhousie or serving at Shearwater, were finally cleaned up under the Conservatives. The trouble is that by the time we get these projects done, we have done the heavy lifting and we do not get to cut some of the ribbons that the new people do. However, I would like the member to spend a few moments researching that.

At the moment, I cannot point to one major investment by the current government. In fact, when the minister in charge of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency is based out of Mississauga, and when the Liberals tried to break with 80-year tradition to block an Atlantic Canadian jurist from the Supreme Court of Canada, defying constitutional precedent, I would suggest Atlantic Canadians have seen that there is zero priority for their needs with the government. There are lots of photo ops and selfies, but that is wearing thin on them.

I would like the member to do some research on the items I have just spoken about. I would like anyone to bring it to the floor of the House of Commons if I am wrong about the shipbuilding investment in the Halifax shipyard being the largest single public procurement infrastructure project ever in Atlantic Canadian history. As someone who lived, served and studied in Atlantic Canada, I am very proud of that track record.

I am now speaking on a continued debate on Bill C-100 and the amendment offered by the NDP. I might as well get to the crunch of the challenge we face here.

As Conservatives, we negotiated 98% of Canada's export access; 98% were deals negotiated by the Conservatives. That included the U.S. free trade agreement, NAFTA, CETA and the trans-Pacific partnership, which basically was agreed upon in the middle of the 2015 election, but then the U.S. pulled out and there were some changes made. There was the agreement with South Korea and a tonne of bilateral agreements. There are really only two or three free trade agreements that were not negotiated by Conservative governments: the Israel free trade agreement, which we modernized, and I think maybe the Chile agreement. However, by and large, 98% of our export access was negotiated by Conservatives. Therefore, we have been frustrated in this process, seeing a lack of attention on trade, exports and key market sectors to be put forward in the renegotiation of NAFTA. This amendment raises a range of issues.

Core to the problems with the NAFTA negotiation were not the outcomes on labour, because the U.S. was concerned basically about labour rates in Mexico. In fact, Canada is a signatory to more ILO treaties than the U.S. is. What is interesting is that, just today, in front of Congress, the USTR, Ambassador Lighthizer, viewed it as a success that Mexico is going to have a secret ballot in the union elections, something the Liberals oppose as a democratic approach to elections for union representation. They likely oppose it because Jerry Dias appears to be a senior advisor to the Prime Minister, advising now on how to spend the $600 million media fund. That should trouble Canadians.

However, the problem was the focus in the NAFTA negotiations, which was softwood lumber, our eternal irritant with the U.S. relationship. In fact, Canadian softwood allows home ownership in the United States to be available to more people. The only reason the tariffs on our softwood lumber, which were agreed upon by the current government, are not having as big an impact as they could is the voracious appetite in the United States right now for construction and softwood in general. Therefore, the price and demand are strong enough that they are living with the tariff that has been imposed.

Members may recall that when the Harper government came in, it made the unusual decision of asking David Emerson to switch parties to help drive toward a deal on softwood. That was the last agreement we were able to lock down with the United States. Therefore, it has been a perpetual irritant in the trade relationship with Canada, which is largely due to a few stakeholders in the U.S. who have a lot of influence in Washington holding back affordability for millions of Americans. The Liberals should have used this opportunity of opening up NAFTA to get resolution on a core irritant of trade. If we are going to modernize, let us fix something that we are always fighting with the Americans on. It was not even mentioned in the priorities of the Liberals, nor was auto.

As I said earlier, the Auto Pact of 1965 was the first free trade agreement between Canada and the U.S. We would not have NAFTA, nor the USFTA, were it not for the Auto Pact. That was not mentioned as a priority.

Most of the agriculture sector is not mentioned. In fairness, the minister did mention supply management but did not push back at any of President Trump's inflated rhetoric on 200% tariff quotas. The U.S. spends more on agricultural subsidies than we spend on our military. When were we pushing back on that? There is no level playing field in agriculture if the U.S. is spending billions in direct subsidies.

We ignored agriculture, auto and softwood. We literally left out most of the areas that we should have been focused on right from the start. That is what the Conservatives said. That is what our leader said. That is what I said. That is what many of our members said.

We also urged them to look at ballistic missile defence, modernizing NORAD as a way to remind Americans that if they are going to impose 232 tariffs because of security grounds, they do not do that with their one partner on homeland defence and security, Canada. They did not do that. In fact they took positions antithetical to the U.S.

Canada pulled out our jets in the fight against ISIS. When France and the U.S. were asking us to do more in security, the Prime Minister in a second vote in this Parliament, whipped by the former head of our army, I would note he is retiring. He was the whip. I know how difficult that must have been to withdraw from a battle when our allies are trying to step up.

The Obama presidency, the bromance the Prime Minister brags about all the time, wanted us to stay in. We were not seen as a trusted, reliable security partner under the Prime Minister. When 232 tariffs were being talked about on security grounds, we were not making our case.

Here is something else I recommended and I would recommend the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, who informed us how they try and fool Canadians by being persistent, yelling, being loud and then Canadians will totally believe them. The big myth we have in modernizing NAFTA was modernizing trucking and transportation in North America. We knew that President Trump had issues with Mexican trucking and some of the border rules in terms of states on the border and trucking regulations.

When the Mulroney government negotiated the U.S. Free Trade Agreement, concluded in the 1988 election, Canada still owned Air Canada. We had not liberalized passenger airline travel. It was still a Crown corporation. Fast-forward to today in 2017, 2018, 2019, we see efficiencies for more open skies. I would like to see even more. We see efficiencies in the North American railroads where Canadian companies like CP and CN have done very well with liberalized transportation rules.

We urged the government, if it wants a game-changer, to truly modernize NAFTA, modernize trucking because in many cases because of state or provincial rules, if we send goods from Quebec to California, or from Ontario to Massachusetts, those trucking resources often have to come back empty or do not have the ability to transport interstate.

What is interesting about that, and I know my friend, the leader of the Green Party is listening intently, is that, had we brought cabotage and trucking into it, it would have been the single largest reduction in greenhouse gases in the history of North America, by modernizing trucking.

I recommended that and when David Emerson, a former transportation minister, someone very well regarded in the industry as well, appeared at transport committee, I asked him would that not have been a win on both the trade front and the environment front. He agreed it would have been the single largest way to reduce greenhouse gases.

Despite the rhetoric, the government's greenhouse gas emission reduction plan is a tax. We could have worked this into NAFTA. The timing was there. As I said, liberalizing trucking regulations was not even forecast in the eighties because there was still state ownership of airlines and so on. Today with air liberalized to a large degree to rail, to short sea shipping in many cases, we could have added trucking. Not only would it reduce greenhouse gases, it would have made businesses more efficient, would have potentially reduced costs and maximized the utility of our trucking infrastructure.

That is something we recommended for the agreement, particularly with a president who likes to tell everyone that he is a business leader. That would have been a way to say we can have a win for the customer, a win for competitiveness, fewer trucks on the road and fewer emissions. Let us modernize that in NAFTA.

No, we did not mention that either. We did not mention our core industries, like auto, softwood or key agriculture sectors. We did not even get modernized professional work abilities in the United States. We did not get digital modernization. We did not get security and certainty with respect to where data and data storage would be for privacy reasons. We really did not get anything in this agreement, because we did not go into the negotiations in a strategic fashion.

The Liberal government underestimated what the negotiations would amount to, and they went in with the sort of posturing image of the Prime Minister, his much vaunted progressive agenda. Liberals kind of said that they would work with Mexico, too. The Prime Minister went down to Mexico to say that we would work together. Then, what did Mexico do? It had 85 direct meetings with White House administration officials.

By the end, the last two months, we had negotiated ourselves away from the table, and the member for Fredericton should know, because the exporters in New Brunswick have been let down by him, remarkably, on this file, that when Canada is not present at the negotiation of a trilateral agreement, when there are only two parties present, it is a failure of the third party.

I understand why the member for Fredericton is frustrated. He might be the next first-term Liberal to announce his retirement. I am losing track of how many. Today it was the member for Pierrefonds—Dollard. We had a few others, I think. I would love to have the Library of Parliament research this fact because I am not 100% sure, but maybe the member for Fredericton could research it too. I think that a majority government has never seen more first-time MPs leave than the current government.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

June 18th, 2019 / 11:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, if only we had seen that passion from the member for Fredericton a few years ago, we might have been able to avoid some of the disastrous results we have had on the trade front.

On nights like this, I wonder if he is reflecting on that fact and on what he is going to say when he goes back to Fredericton. He will have to say that we are rushing through bills like Bill C-100 and Bill C-101 in the final hours of Parliament because we were not able to secure good outcomes for Canada. This is despite the fact that we were able to join a deal that Mexico and the United States had signed.

As I was saying before he had his outburst, if there is a trilateral agreement being negotiated and one of the three parties is no longer at the table, we should ask how we let that happen. As I said in my remarks on Bill C-100, this year is the first year that Mexico has surpassed Canada as the number one bilateral trade partner for the first two months of this year. Mexico surpassed us, negotiating the USMCA. It had a deal on 232 tariffs before Canada, despite the fact we are NORAD partners and we have had free trade with the U.S. for years before Mexico did.

We have to work with what the government has been able to table. We have to make sure that we do not have the tariffs come back on, because steel fabricators in Fredericton and MacDougall Steel in Prince Edward Island cannot afford another year of tariffs.

In fact, I can summarize and conclude with this. Canadians cannot afford another four years of the Liberals.

Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

June 11th, 2019 / 11:15 a.m.
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Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

moved that Bill C-100, An Act to implement the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, I want to start by acknowledging that we are meeting on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people.

I am pleased to rise in the House today to support Bill C-100, the new NAFTA implementation act.

Because of its size and geography, Canada has always been a trading nation. Exports are the very bedrock of our economy and account for fully one-third of our GDP. Imports supply our businesses, fuel our production and meet consumers' needs. Naturally, for geographic reasons, a significant proportion of those exports and imports are with our biggest trading partner, the United States.

The vast majority of them cross the border tariff-free because of our North American free trade agreement. The region covered by this North American free trade agreement is now the largest economic region in the world. Together, Canada, the United States and Mexico account for a quarter of the world's GDP, with just 7% of the global population. We exchange goods, services, investment and people in a growing market that now encompasses 486 million consumers and is worth some US$22 trillion.

Every day, more than two billion dollars' worth of trade and investment move back and forth between Canada and the United States. Our continental supply chains have strengthened North America's ability to compete and to succeed in the global marketplace, and we benefit from that strength here in Canada.

This successful trading arrangement was the foundation upon which we built the agreement being debated here today, and I am pleased to be here to speak in support of the new NAFTA.

When the U.S. administration announced that it would seek to renegotiate NAFTA, we saw an opportunity to update, modernize and improve a trade agreement that was already a strong foundation for North American commerce. We knew that in order to be effective, it was critical that we present a united front and speak for all Canadians in our negotiation.

We came to the negotiating table united as a country. Throughout our intense negotiations, we stayed focused on what matters most to Canadians: jobs, growth and expanding the middle class. We knew these priorities were Canadians' priorities because we spoke with Canadians, industry, agriculture and labour across the country. We sought advice and insight across party lines and asked current and former politicians, including many premiers and mayors, for their help in shaping Canada's priorities and in championing them.

Crucially, we created a NAFTA advisory council, which counted among its members former politicians from the NDP and the Conservatives, as well as business leaders, labour leaders, agricultural leaders and indigenous leaders.

I would like to pause here to thank the council for the excellent work it has done and continues to do on behalf of our great country.

I would also like to thank Canadians from all across the country, especially from business, labour, agriculture, politicians of all stripes, premiers and mayors for their hard work on the new NAFTA. This was a true team Canada effort, and I am so proud of the way our whole country approached these sometimes difficult negotiations.

I also want to thank my hon. colleagues throughout this House for their advocacy and insight throughout this process. So many of them have been integral to our work.

Throughout the negotiation, we kept our cool in the face of uncertainty and worked on getting a new agreement that would preserve jobs and market access, and in turn, support the middle class and economic growth. We held firm. We held out for a good deal and that is what we have today.

I would be remiss if I failed to note that a major obstacle remained even after the agreement was signed in Buenos Aires last November: the United States' unjust and illegal section 232 tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum.

When the United States imposed the tariffs, Canada immediately took retaliatory measures by imposing counter-tariffs. Canada stood its ground, asserting that the tariffs were inappropriate between two countries that not only are key national security allies but also have a free trade agreement. We made that clear to the American administration, members of Congress, union leaders and business leaders south of the border. We also made it clear that it would be very difficult to ratify the new agreement as long as the tariffs remained in place.

On May 17, we succeeded in getting the steel and aluminum tariffs eliminated.

As I said when I recently met with workers in Regina and in Saguenay, here is why we have succeeded in getting those tariffs lifted. We knew the facts were on our side. We knew that Canada did not represent a national security threat to the United States. We knew our trade with the United States in steel is balanced and reciprocal. We stayed united. We were patient. We persevered, and in the end, we prevailed.

Now that the tariffs have been fully lifted, we are ready to move forward with the ratification of the new NAFTA. Our aim was to preserve Canada's preferential access to our largest and closest market, and that is what we achieved. This is essential for our businesses, our entrepreneurs, our farmers, and for the millions of jobs and all the middle-class families across Canada who rely on a strong trade relationship with our neighbour.

We succeeded in preserving key elements of NAFTA, including chapter 19, the all-important dispute settlement mechanism. No trading relationship is ever without irritants. In the case of the Canada-U.S. relationship, we are aware of the importance of maintaining an effective mechanism to settle disputes. For us, this was non-negotiable.

Over the years, we have used dispute settlement mechanisms many times to make impartial decisions for Canadian industry and workers, particularly in the case of softwood lumber.

We also protected the cultural exception. Canada’s cultural industries provide more than 650,000 jobs across the country. Beyond this vital economic role, they are integral to our ability to maintain a strong sense of national identity, tell our stories and express our culture in all of its diversity. By preserving this exception, we will ensure that Canadian culture is protected and that our unique linguistic and cultural identity will not be jeopardized.

NAFTA is an agreement that is a quarter of a century old. In preparing for this negotiation, we heard from Canadian exporters that there were a lot of bread-and-butter issues preventing them from taking full advantage of the deal. We heard what Canadian businesses needed and we responded.

The new NAFTA includes important updates that will modernize our deal for the 21st century and simplify life for Canadian exporters. In fact, in our consultations before the start of the negotiations, we found that about 40% of Canadians doing business with the U.S. did not bother to use their NAFTA preferences at all. It is a stunning number. The new NAFTA will make life easier for business people on both sides of the border by cutting red tape and harmonizing regulations.

Our job as a government is to safeguard economic gains and prevent economic threats. That is what we have done through this modernized agreement.

Consider Canada's automotive sector, which contributes $19 billion to our country's annual GDP. This is a sector that directly employs more than 125,000 people with an additional 400,000 jobs created in after-market services and dealership networks. Unfair tariffs on Canadian cars and car parts would threaten our economy and hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs and the families they support. Canada was able to negotiate a gold-plated insurance policy for Canadian automobiles and auto parts, protecting our industry from future potential section 232 tariff measures by the U.S. on cars and car parts. This provides added stability and predictability for the car sector and reaffirms Canada as an attractive investment destination.

In addition, the new NAFTA's rules of origin chapter addresses automotive manufacturing wages in North America by including a labour value content requirement. This means that a percentage of the value of a tariff-free NAFTA vehicle must be produced by workers earning at least $16 U.S. an hour. This is a provision that should help level the playing field for Canadian workers.

The new agreement seeks to improve labour standards and working conditions in all three countries. The labour chapter contains key provisions that support fair and inclusive trade, such as enforceable obligations to address issues related to migrant workers, forced or compulsory labour and violence against union members. It promotes increased trade and investment opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses through the small business chapter.

Perhaps one of the achievements I am most proud of is that the investor-state dispute resolution system, which in the past allowed foreign companies to sue Canada, will be gone. This means that Canada can make its own rules about public health and safety, for example, without the risk of being sued. Known as ISDS, this provision has cost Canadian taxpayers more than $300 million in penalties and legal fees.

Over the past 25 years, North American trade in agriculture and agri-food products has nearly quadrupled. Canada and the U.S. enjoy one of the largest agricultural trading relationships in the world. It is worth more than $48 billion U.S. a year. Under this new agreement, Canadian exporters will continue to benefit, including new market access for Canadian exports of refined sugar, sugar-containing products, and margarine. This is significant for our farmers and our food industry.

Importantly, the agreement preserves and maintains Canada's system of supply management for dairy, poultry and egg products, despite strong attempts by the U.S. to dismantle it. While the new NAFTA introduces a specific amount of liberalization of market access, the future of supply management itself—production control, pricing mechanisms and import controls—is not in doubt. To mitigate the impact of these changes, the government will compensate producers for any loss of market share and work with them to further strengthen their industry.

Our shared North American environment is vital to our economic prosperity. The new NAFTA will ensure that our trading partners do not gain an unfair competitive advantage by failing to enforce their environmental laws. It also includes a new environment chapter, subject to the same dispute settlement mechanism, to help uphold air quality and fight marine pollution.

We secured a general exception related to the rights of indigenous peoples. We have ensured that the environment chapter recognizes the important role of indigenous peoples in conservation, sustainable fisheries and forest management.

The new labour chapter includes a non-discrimination clause for employment and occupation, and addresses barriers to the full participation of women in the workforce.

We also ensured that LBGTQ2 individuals are supported. In fact, the new NAFTA is the first international trade deal that recognizes gender identity and sexual orientation as grounds for discrimination in its labour chapter.

In renewing and modernizing NAFTA, it is important to underscore the importance of our long-standing and mutually beneficial trade relationship with the United States. Our relationship is special and enduring because of our geography and history. It is special and enduring because of our close business, family and personal ties. It has been a significant contributor to jobs, economic growth and prosperity in both countries.

Our partnership with Mexico is critically important as well, and the new NAFTA will ensure that the trilateral North American relationship remains mutually beneficial for years to come.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank United States trade representative Ambassador Bob Lighthizer; the former Mexican secretary of the economy, lldefonso Guajardo; his successor, the current Mexican Secretary of the Economy, Graciela Márquez; and Mexican Undersecretary Jesús Seade. All of us worked hard together, and in the end, we achieved a win-win-win deal for our three countries.

With regard to ratification, insofar as it is possible, we intend to move in tandem with our partners. I am in very close contact with my counterparts in both countries as we discuss our domestic ratification processes.

Our government's purpose is to create the conditions to grow a stronger middle class and improve opportunities for all Canadians. That is what we have achieved with the new NAFTA, and this is something all Canadians can be proud of.

Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

June 11th, 2019 / 12:45 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, before I begin, I would like to inform you that I will be splitting my time with the member for New Brunswick Southwest, who is a hard-working member of our committee. Wherever we go, she mentions how important trade is to her riding, as it borders on the United States, so I am glad to split my time with her.

I rise today add my voice in support of Bill C-100, the Canada-United States-Mexico free trade agreement, or what some would call the old NAFTA or NAFTA 2.

I have had the great pleasure of chairing our international trade committee over the last four years. Some say it is the most active, vibrant, hard-working committee on the Hill. It helps when I bring lobsters once in a while to get everybody to work together. We do not always agree, but we all work together for Canadian companies and for Canadians in making sure we have fair agreements and that they are good for us. Together, we went through the European agreement, the TPP and of course the new NAFTA.

I would like to thank the clerk and staff of the committee, who travel around with us. They put our travel itineraries and our studies together, making sure they are in proper form and getting them to the House. We could not do work at committee without the great staff we have around us.

I would like to commend the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Prime Minister for the great job they have done. I also commend the premiers. A lot of premiers worked closely with governors in the United States and Mexico. They went down there on their own dime from their own provinces and helped us work this through. There were even some mayors from our country, and of course Canadian stakeholders went back and forth as well to help us get through this deal.

Unions also helped. They were often there with us. In Washington, they worked with us. They worked with their counterparts south of the border. This was very important, and we saw that in what we did for the Mexican workers to improve their lives.

Canada is a trading nation, and currently we have 15 trade agreements. I think we have more than any other G20 country. Our government understands how important international trade is in growing and strengthening our economy, and that is exactly what we are doing. In fact, in 2017, the total trilateral trade among the three countries reached over $1 trillion U.S., which represents almost 30% of the world's GDP. It is amazing, and it is the envy of countries all over the world that would love to be in this trading bloc.

Our trade committee had the privilege to travel not only to Capitol Hill in Washington a couple of times, but also to San Francisco, Columbus, Detroit, Chicago and other places in the United States, where we had very productive meetings with senators, members of Congress and chambers of commerce. In these meetings, we stressed the importance of the North American Free Trade Agreement, what it holds for all three economies and how deeply connected our countries are.

My son-in-law is from Mexico, and I have cousins in the United States and friends in Florida. Our countries are closely connected with each other, not only in regard to trade and the military, but in all the things we do.

Our committee was at a chamber of commerce meeting in San Francisco where the guest speaker was George Shultz. He is a former United States secretary of state who worked under a couple of presidents. He made a wonderful speech. He told us that people can have a good job when they start life and can have a good home, but there is nothing like having a good neighbour. He said Canada is the best neighbour that any country could have. I was very proud to hear that from him.

He also said we could work on those things, and said—surprisingly, as he worked for the Republicans—that the next big thing after the trade agreements is to work together on the environment. It was very progressive of him to state that if we work together on that, we can change what is going on in the world with our environmental standards and also be leaders in the business of environmental technology.

We had a big job to do in going to the United States. Most Canadians realize how important trade is, but many times American politicians do not realize the importance of American trade with Canada. The staff at the Canadian embassy in Washington did a great job for us and gave us a map of the United States, which I have with me, showing what each state sells to Canada. Out of the 50 states, every state sells at least $1 billion of product to us.

These are some of the numbers for a year: Florida sells $8 billion to us; Washington state, $10 billion; New York state, $20 billion a year; Ohio, $22 billion, out of Columbus; California, $28 billion. People would think it is mostly the border states, but the biggest is Texas, where we buy over $32 billion worth of product.

One of our biggest jobs as the committee was going down there and explaining to the senators and congresspeople how much we buy from the U.S.A. I was very proud of our committee and the work we did. We met all these different representatives, and it was part of doing the job. We are a smaller country, but the job we have to do sometimes is to reinforce that understanding.

In my riding alone in Cape Breton and in Atlantic Canada, how much trade we do is unbelievable. For instance, in my riding we have Victoria Co-operative Fisheries. It is a co-operative that started years ago. After the Depression, the co-op movement was big in Cape Breton, and these fishermen got together and had their own co-op. They process their own fish. They buy their supplies together. It is a very good co-op, and when I was talking to them, it was amazing to find out that over three-quarters of their product is sold into the U.S. market. They have beautiful products.

That is just one company in my riding. We also have Protocase, a new company in Sydney that is making electronic boxes and selling them all over the world, but of course the biggest customer is the United States.

We also have Copol International. We are talking a lot lately about plastics; Copol International, from North Sydney, buys plastic pellets from Ohio or Louisiana and mixes discarded shells from lobster, crab and shrimp with the plastic so the plastic can be biodegradable. The company is making a great product and is selling it to California.

That is just in my riding alone, but in all of Atlantic Canada, 62% of exports go to the United States. In Nova Scotia, our biggest export to the United States, over $1 billion, is seafood, which comes from all over Nova Scotia.

We also have Michelin Tires, which has three plants in Nova Scotia, with 3,500 employees, and most of those tires are sold all through the United States. Nova Scotia is also the biggest exporter of wild blueberries, and 50% of Nova Scotia's frozen wild blueberries go to the United States.

In the other provinces, in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, the Irvings sell lumber. In P.E.I., we cannot have lobster and crab without a feed of French fries or potatoes. Over $1 billion worth of French fries and potatoes come right out of P.E.I. and New Brunswick.

We see the importance of trade. Agricultural trade alone in Canada is $50 billion. It is almost half and half. We buy $25 billion in agriculture and we sell $25 billion. The numbers are huge, and the United States is not the only major partner: Mexico is Canada's fourth-largest market, where we export $2 billion every year in just wheat, canola and beef.

Our trade committee studied e-commerce as another opportunity for Canada to export more products to Mexico. Canada imported almost $30 billion in trade from Mexico in 2017, so trade is not just with the United States; though we often focus on that, it is with other countries also.

What I am getting at with all these important statistics is that this new agreement is not only preserving existing trade agreements to keep what we have but also improving on them. Every agreement needs a touch-up once in a while. We have to strengthen our economies and open up more doors to opportunity. Trilateral trade among our three countries has always been strong, and now it is going to be stronger.

I am proud to work with this government and this committee and I am proud of what we have done on this agreement. It is not there yet, but we are getting there.

Our committee visited Washington and we have to go in tandem there a bit with them, but I am sure we are going to get it done. It is not just for us in this Parliament; it is for the men and women who are working in fish plants, in the car assemblies or in the pulp and paper mills or on the grain farms. That is what we are here for. We are here to help them, to make sure that trade comes, because without that trade, we do not have prosperity.